Proteins, transcripts, and genetic architecture of seminal fluid and sperm in the mosquito aedes aegypti

Ethan C. Degner, Yasir H. Ahmed-Braimah, Kirill Borziak, Mariana F. Wolfner, Laura C. Harrington, Steve Dorus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti, transmits several viruses causative of serious diseases, including dengue, Zika, and chikungunya. Some proposed efforts to control this vector involve manipulating reproduction to suppress wild populations or to replace them with disease-resistant mosquitoes. The design of such strategies requires an intimate knowledge of reproductive processes, yet our basic understanding of reproductive genetics in this vector remains largely incomplete. To accelerate future investigations, we have comprehensively catalogued sperm and seminal fluid proteins (SFPs) transferred to females in the ejaculate using tandem mass spectrometry. By excluding female-derived proteins using an isotopic labeling approach, we identified 870 sperm proteins and 280 SFPs. Functional composition analysis revealed parallels with known aspects of sperm biology and SFP function in other insects. To corroborate our proteome characterization, we also generated transcriptomes for testes and the male accessory glands-the primary contributors to Ae. aegypti sperm and seminal fluid, respectively. Differential gene expression of accessory glands from virgin and mated males suggests that transcripts encoding proteins involved in protein translation are upregulated post-mating. Several SFP transcripts were also modulated after mating, but >90% remained unchanged. Finally, a significant enrichment of SFPs was observed on chromosome 1, which harbors the male sex determining locus in this species. Our study provides a comprehensive proteomic and transcriptomic characterization of ejaculate production and composition and thus provides a foundation for future investigations of Ae. aegypti reproductive biology, from functional analysis of individual proteins to broader examination of reproductive processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S6-S22
JournalMolecular and Cellular Proteomics
StatePublished - Mar 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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